Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Molly's Game: Movie Review


Fast-talking, smart story of one accomplished woman.
Molly Bloom was a world-class skier, an academic over-achiever, a woman who built a legal multi-million-dollar poker business on her own wits and intelligence, and now she’s a felon. Molly’s Game is her story - all of her story, or at least the prescient moments from her first 36 years. It’s the highs and the lows and most importantly, how she got there. 2017

Directed by: Aaron Sorkin

Screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Based on the book by Molly Bloom

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba

A key point made in the movie and that writer-director Aaron Sorkin has commented on in interviews is that Molly doesn’t care to gossip. What she may or may not know, what she may or may not have done with high-profile business men, rich athletes and A-list actors is not a concern with who she is. Molly could have sold a book or her life rights for a lot more money if she agreed to name names and spill private details, but she didn’t want to. Hers is the only real name in the movie.

I agree with Sorkin that the more interesting movie is how she did what she did and why. In short, she used her born and bred intelligence to turn a poker game into her own business and legally profit off of it. Then mistakes are made. The film can actually point out specific moments and broader character flaws that caused her to make poor decisions and how everything crumbles down from there.

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in MOLLY'S GAME, an Entertainment One release.
Molly is a smart person and many films have tried and failed to accurately create smart characters. Aaron Sorkin is a smart writer, he knows what’s important, he learns the facts and he can always whip off a few interesting stats – Molly’s quick wit is very movie-like (entertaining) but her intelligence is believable. Actress Jessica Chastain in a very captivating performance has also keyed in on Molly’s primary characteristics and everything she does relates back to what we know about Molly.

Sorkin’s directorial debut looks exactly like what you would expect a Sorkin screenplay to look like – a lot of words in a short period of time and a lot of quick edits, but just when you’re ready to beg the characters to take a breath, they do. Molly and her lawyer (Idris Elba) think before they speak, and will pause for reflection right when you need it. The plot turns (like how the poker game advances from A to B) has a lot of fast-talking exposition, but the character-based turns in the story are handled deftly. And that’s what sets Molly’s Game apart – this is not a razzle, dazzle story of money and fame, this is the story of a woman who worked hard to have it all and how and why she lost it all.
Best of 2017